When I heard that’s the amount of time, by an outdated city ordinance, a food truck can park in one place, that just didn’t make sense.
I mean, why even bother? It’s not like a food truck can generate any income, really, in 15 minutes. They can’t even make enough to pay the citation of $500.
The Honolulu City Council will look at upping that time limit to two hours. But is that even worth it, either? And why the time limit?
I’m sure this has something to do with mobile businesses not paying as much — rent, overhead, taxes — as brick-and-mortar shops. And I’m sure they’re seen as threats, especially when these lunch trunks pop up at lunchtime and take away business from nearby restaurants.
I remember talking with a lunch wagon owner who paid a fee to operate on city property. He was upset because other wagons would pull up in parking stalls and sell food — taking away his customers — and without paying the fee he was paying. So he stopped paying it, too, and now drives around, finds an open spot and sets up his business. It’s easier and cheaper.
But what the city should do is help these small, mobile businesses — not hurt them or pit them against each other. Talk to the owners. Find out what they need. Make it work. It will only benefit everyone involved.